New on Geni: Adoption

Posted March 9, 2015 by Amanda | 36 Comments

Today we are delighted to announce a long awaited new feature on Geni – adoption! We are releasing a great enhancement to the family tree that will allow you to show adoptive, foster and biological parent relationships when viewing your family on Geni.

There are three changes you will notice in the tree view:

  1. You can now add parents to a profile that already has parents.
  2. A profile with multiple sets of parents will now show the number of parent marriages in a green box centered above the tree node. Clicking this box will allow you to choose which set of parents you (and only you) will see in the tree view.
  3. Hovering over the tree conflict warning (image01) now tells you to either edit the profile to set the adoptive/foster parents, or click the icon to resolve duplicates as you would before.

This not only eliminates the awkward work-around of adding “Adoptive” and “Biological” to parent names, but also provides a simple way to view these important relationships in your family tree. Now when you add children and parents, you can easily choose whether the parent-child relationship is biological, adoptive or foster.


For a real life example, let’s take a look at famous adoptee Steve Jobs’ family tree. As you can see in the image below, the tree conflicts icon tells us that Steve Jobs has multiple sets of parents in the tree. Click on the icon to identify Jobs’ adoptive and biological parents.


You can click on the green box to choose which set of parents you prefer to see in the tree view. Note your selection will not affect what other users see.


Here is a view of Steve Jobs’ family tree with the view set to show his biological parents.


Relationships can also be easily edited from both the tree view and the profile page. On the Relationship tab in the profile screen, you can select the adoptive, foster or biological relationships.  Whenever multiple sets of biological parents are chosen, a warning is shown to instruct you to either choose one set as non-biological, or click the tree conflict icon to merge duplicates.


Once set, the profile page will identify the biological and adoptive relationships.


Many other Geni features have been enhanced to include adoption and foster relationships as necessary.  For example, relationship paths will show when the path crosses an adoptive or foster relationship.


The Immediate Family module on the profile Overview tab also distinguishes adoptions and foster relationships:


Also, the side-by-side comparison screen used for merging profiles now shows adoptive and foster relationships, to assist you in determining whether two profiles are the same person:


We’re very excited for this enhancement because we strongly believe in the importance of illustrating these meaningful family relationships in your tree. This will also make our World Family Tree of over 88 million people even better by enabling you to accurately distinguish adoptive and biological lineages.

This is only the beginning of many more exciting things to come on Geni. Stay tuned!

Post written by Amanda

Amanda is the Social Media Coordinator at Geni. If you need any assistance, she will be happy to help!

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  • John Kessel

    Cool! I had looked this up a few weeks ago… Then I just happened to look at Steve Jobs’ profile today and saw he had biological and adoptive parents and was like “Wait a second…” Then i saw the adoption page updated today. Cool! Thank you!

  • John Kessel

    I just tried assigning adoptive parents for my great-grandfather Edgar Crossland

    I have two questions though
    1) Is it still expected to show “This person has multiple sets of parents. Click the conflict icon ( ) in the tree to resolve the duplicates.” when i edit his profile?
    2) I have a “Merge Issue” showing for Edgar Crossland showing that I can’t seem to resolve.

    Edgar Crossland ( (1889-1940) has biological parents William Crossland ( and Sophia Elizabeth Grimes (

    Edgar’s adoptive parents are George F Warner ( and Alice Margaret Crossland ( Alice Margaret Crossland (1856-1945) is actually Edgar’s biological paternal Aunt



    • geniblog

      Hi John,

      When I took a look at the tree for Edgar Crossland, I do not see tree conflict. His profile lists both his biological and adoptive parents. Do you have a link to the merge issue?

      • John Kessel

        Correct, it doesn’t show a merge conflict on the tree… but when I got to “Merge Center” I see Edgar Crossland listed there, but I do not see anything when I view him on the tree..

        If you go to Edgar Crossland and click on “Edit Profile” does it look like this attached screen shot with the conflict icon?

        • geniblog

          Thanks for the screenshot and link! We are looking into it.

        • geniblog

          This should be fixed now!

      • John Kessel

        Also, I forgot, here is the link when I click on “View Tree” on his merge issue:

  • Ashley

    brb gonna happy-cry

    I am so, so grateful, you guys. THANK YOU for finally letting my family be shown *as my family* on Geni. :)

  • Johann Ahlers

    This is a wonderful enhancement, but still needs some debugging. I experienced some nasty bugs. Could not find a way to add EXISTING foster parents to someone with existing biological parents. Adding one, deletes the other, etc…

    • geniblog

      Hi Johann, in the tree, are you able to click on the top yellow arrow to add the foster parents? Once it’s added, you’ll see a green box at the top center of the child’s node indicating multiple sets of parents. You can click on the green box to choose which set of parents you would like to view in the tree.

      • Johann Ahlers

        Nope, no yellow arrows…
        I don’t want to add NEW foster parents – would like to add an existing couple elsewhere in the tree as foster parents.
        Only way I could do it was to add temporary new child to the foster parents (as foster child) and then merge the temporary child ‘away’. BUT, I am now presented with possible duplicates in the Tree Merge table!?

        • geniblog

          Thanks for the clarification. We will work on resolving this issue. For now, we would suggest doing the merge on the temp child. Then when it shows the tree conflict icon, click on it to identify the biological and foster parents, which will resolve that tree conflict.

          • Johann Ahlers

            Thank you – it IS a great improvement!

          • geniblog

            Hi Johann, we’re trying to recreate the issue you are experiencing. Can you please let us know the steps you took to add existing foster parents to someone with existing biological parents?

        • liuyao

          No temp child needed. Just “move and drop”, which prompts you to choose it to be a parent, spouse, sibling or child. It creates a conflict, then just edit relationship.

  • morel

    Bravo Geni Team! The feature works wonderfully. This feature really enriches our tree greatly.

  • Daan

    Something I noticed, which is a bit ackward, is that if you select the option to show the person under his adoptive/foster parents, then all other relations (wife, children) are not visible and can only be viewed in his biological line. Even severring those relationships from the profile and adding it on the tree on the adoptive line, still shows it only on the biological line.

    • geniblog

      Hi Daan, you should still be able to see wife and children regardless of which parents (biological or adoptive) are selected. Do you have a specific example of where this is occurring?

      • Daan

        Yes, you find it in the situation where a lady had an illegitimate child who are later adopted by her husband. If you now select tree view with the mother as centre and you move so that the illegitimate child is shown under both parent sets, then it will show x2 under the adoptive parents with no relations and the relations are only shown on his biological line – regardless what preference you selected. Choosing any other profile as reference, eg his adoption father does show the tree as expected.

        Take the profile below and then view the tree with his mother as reference.

  • alex

    Great work! Such a valuable feature :-)

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  • Nickvet419

    What about alternate adoptive names as sometimes the adoptive parents change the name of the child during the adoption process? This would come into consideration of record matching where birth records would have a different name than the death records.

  • Nickvet419

    Also noticed there are a some errors that occur when you merge a adoptive profile. The error occurred with the situation where one parent (mother) re-married and the stepfather adopted the children. When setting the mother-father = biological, and mother-stepfather = adoptive, the error appeared.

    • geniblog

      Can you describe the error message you received?

      • Nickvet419

        It happens after merging to profiles and adjusting the parents.

        profile 1 = mother+father (biological)
        profile 2 = stepfather (adoptive)

        after merging the profile edit relationship from tree view:
        mother+stepfather = adoptive
        mother+father = biological.

        This process results in an error “Something went wrong with your request. Please try again later.” The edit does go though after the edit is canceled but the profile sometimes is not accessible afterwords.

  • Heather

    I like the new function of adoption and foster, but the children who have been adopted/fostered have been with other family members across the board, wondering why they don’t show up on the other family tree, when adding adopted family, then i added the adopted child to my cousins family tree and added his biological parents, but i’m not even getting a merge of people. they are totally seperate parents. and then when researching others i’m getting back people in my actual tree and saying i have to pay to get my own information. please help.

  • Gambit

    I like the new function of adoption and foster, but the children who
    have been adopted/fostered have been with other family members across
    the board, wondering why they don’t show up on the other family tree,
    when adding adopted family, then i added the adopted child to my cousins
    family tree and added his biological parents, but i’m not even getting a
    merge of people. they are totally seperate parents. and then when
    researching others i’m getting back people in my actual tree and saying i
    have to pay to get my own information. please help.

    • geniblog

      If the adoptive and biological parents have been added, then you should see a green box above the node. Can you post the link to an example?

  • Martijn

    Getting there, but it’s still a tad inflexible. I’m trying to enter the following configuration, and can’t seem to get it to work:

    A is biological father of B and C. D and E are married. So far so good. Now how do I select D as biological mother of B, and E as biological mother of C? E is B’s adoptive mother, and D is C’s adoptive mother.

    A is not married to either D or E (since they’re married to each other).

    When I try entering things from A’s perspective, things go wrong whenever I try to assign the biological mother of either B or C: the application assumes A is married, or has been, to the selected biological mother D or E; a relationship I can’t seem to delete without completely removing the mother from the tree.

    Am I overlooking something, or is the application just not that flexible (yet)?

  • Law Office – Michael Silverman

    What an awesome tool. Many people have great relationships with their entire family, and some just want to list the names of special meaning. It’s nice to have a choice and be able to have all the relationships known.

  • Gael Rodriguez

    Please help me. I added a biological parent for my mother.
    Now she (my mother) appears twice in the tree. One below each parent. Biological and Foster.
    I tried to eliminate one of her profiles, but a message appears that I don’t have permissions to do that (In my own tree).

    • geniblog

      Hi Gael,

      The x2 on your mother’s node signifies a ‘Cycle’ in the tree, not a duplicate. A cycle indicates that she is related in the tree in two ways. Currently, we do not have the option to specify only one adoptive parent in the tree. Since her mother is connected to both her biological father and foster father, a cycle will appear to illustrate the relationships in the tree.

      • Gael Rodriguez

        Thanks for your fast response.

        I understand all in the explanation. I get the meaning of X2. She is not a duplicate profile.

        The problema is that she actually is shown duplicated in the tree.

        I’m uploading an image so you can see duplicated Maria Gloria.
        Thanks in advance.

  • Kampuwai Samson

    Hello to those of you looking for baby to adopt, am Brothon by name and am from Maryland USA, lots have a set of twins boy and girl here, they don’t have all it takes to take care of them as they have made their decision to put them for adoption, interested couples looking forward to adopt the babies should please contact (, they don’t just want the little children to suffer anymore please HELP by coming to take them from me,

  • s00cherry

    What if a child is parented by one adoptive parent and one biolgical parent? Of course they have two biological parents but only one adoptive. Is this possible?

    • geniblog

      Hi, you will need to indicate the biological parent as both the biological and the adoptive parent. For example, first add biological parents A + B, then add as as adoptive parents B + C. The child’s profile will show that they are the biological child of A + B and the adoptive child of C.